The FCC has released its annual Report and Order showing the regulatory fees due for the 2015 fiscal year. The fees must be received by the FCC by 11:59 PM EDT on September 24, 2015.  The FCC’s electronic payment system is currently undergoing technology updates, but is expected to be available for use by Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  Once the system is back online, the fees can be paid any time on or before September 24th.  As in past years, the FCC will not be mailing out any notices of fees due. It is up to each licensee, permittee or regulatee to insure that these fees are timely paid.  Fees paid even one day late will be subject to a 25% penalty plus administrative processing charges, so timely payment is critical.  Unlike the IRS which uses the mailing date to determine timeliness, the FCC requires regulatory fees to be received by the due date to avoid late payment penalties.  Licensees or permittees that fail to pay their regulatory fees in full will not be able to get FCC action on any subsequently-filed applications or receive disbursements from the federal universal service programs such as E-rate, pursuant to the Commission's "red light" policy until all fees and penalties are paid.   

Regulatory fees can only be paid by wire, online ACH payment or online credit card, and all payers will need both an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and a completed "Fee Filer Form" 159-E prior to filing.  The FCC no longer accepts checks or paper filings.  

For most services, fees are based on FCC licenses and permits held as of October 1, 2014 (the first day of the FCC’s 2015 fiscal year), although cable TV rates are based on the number of basic subscribers as of December 31, 2014, and the interstate telecommunications service provider/VoIP fees are based on the 2014 revenues reported on the entity’s 2015 FCC Form 499-A.  Noncommercial stations and all nonprofit entities are exempt from paying regulatory fees.  

The primary change from last year’s fees is that the FCC will now be collecting regulatory fees from Direct Broadcast Service (DBS) providers as a subcategory in the cable television and IPTV category, at the rate of 12 cents per subscriber.  As a result, cable TV fees have decreased by four cents per subscriber, from 99 cents to 95 cents per subscriber.  Another significant change from last year is that anyone whose total regulatory fee liability is $500 or less is exempt from payment of regulatory fees.  

Although a summary of fees is shown below, the FCC website  contains  links to more information about the fees owed, including fees for services not mentioned below  

A.            BROADCAST SERVICES

                1.             AM and FM Radio

Click here to view table.

 2.             Digital Television

            The FCC has eliminated the distinction between VHF and UHF for digital TV regulatory fees, as follows:

Click here to view table.

  3.             LPTV, TV Translator & TV Booster                              $440 per license (2014 = $410)     

  4.            Broadband Radio (MDS/MMDS) & LMDS                    $635 per call sign (2014 = $715)

B.            CABLE SERVICES

                1.             Cable Television Systems                                   96¢ per subscriber (2014 = 99¢)

                2.             Cable Antenna Relay Service (CARS)                         $660 (2014 = $605)

                3.             Direct Broadcast Service (DBS)                      12¢ per subscriber (New this year)

C.            WIRELESS SERVICES

                1.             CMRS Mobile/Cellular Services                                   17¢ per unit (2014 = 18¢)

                2.             CMRS Messaging Services                                            8¢ per unit (unchanged)

                3.             Microwave (includes Domestic Public Fixed Radio)

Microwave licensees must pay a $20 annual regulatory fee per year, payable for an entire ten-year license term at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstatement license.  The total regulatory fee due is $200 for the ten-year license term.  (2014 = $15 annual regulatory fee per year, total regulatory fee was $150)

D.          TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS 

               1.     Interstate Telecommunications Services               .00331 per revenue dollar

                                                                                              (based on revenue reported on 499-A)

 These fees are assessed on interconnected VoIP services, as well as traditional services such as local exchange, interexchange (long distance) and resold services.               

E.            INTERNATIONAL SERVICES

                1.             Earth Stations                                                                      $310 (2014 = $295)

  • NO FEE FOR RECEIVE-ONLY EARTH STATIONS

The FCC simultaneously issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposing some modifications to the broadcast station fees.  It is unclear if or when those revised fees would take effect, if adopted.  We would be happy to provide more information regarding the proposed fees upon request.